Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to your body and overall health, not to mention your mood; about one in four people suffer from insomnia or other sleep-related problems, which cause interruptions in your body’s natural sleep cycles and can lead to serious health and cognitive problems. Doctors recommend around 7-9 hours of quality sleep for adults - meaning no waking up in the middle of the night or tossing and turning - but so many of us still suffer from these exact scenarios. Surprisingly, one of the biggest culprits of interrupted sleep is uncomfortable bedroom temperatures!
Sometimes, the theory of eight hours’ sleep is a lot easier than the practice. In stifling summer heat, it can be difficult for your body to naturally regulate your temperature and keep you cool enough to sleep. When your brain struggles to keep you at an optimal temperature, due to an overheated room or too many blankets, it can lead to disrupted sleep. Common effects from lack of sleep include:
Weight Gain - Even as little as 30 minutes less than the recommended sleep duration can cause chemical imbalances in the body, increasing the risk of diabetes and heart problems, and also the level of stress hormone in your brain, cortisol, which in return makes you eat more.
Lower Immune System - Sleep is when your body recharges itself. That means your immune system too. Messing with your natural sleep cycle leads to less white blood cells in your body, making it harder to fight off passing viruses.
Difficulty learning new things - Sleep deprivation leads to a lack of concentration, which makes a lot of sense; but it also has an effect on short-term memory, which is where new information is stored. Having an impaired short-term memory severely compromises your ability to build on existing skills, or learn new ones.
Sleep deprivation has also been linked to depression and social isolation, stroke, and lowered sex drive. So much about the science of sleep is a mystery, but it is clear that those with good sleeping habits live longer and healthier lives than people who aren’t getting a good quality rest.
Magnesium - Magnesium may actually have a naturally relaxing effect on your body. Calcium helps bind the magnesium so you can absorb it faster.
Essential Oils - Burning calming essential oils or incense can help you fall asleep. You can also dilute your essential oils with coconut oil, and apply them to your skin. Great choices to help you sleep include ylang-ylang, valerian, lavender, and chamomile.
You can try cooling yourself down with a bath or shower before bed; moving rapidly between a warm bath into the cool air of the bathroom helps lull your body into sleep mode. For extra hot nights, try a cool, wet towel for your forehead.
But remember that even with all body heat under control, you still need your bedroom at an optimal temperature for a good night’s sleep. You may be used to being snug as a bug before bed, but it turns out the ideal temperature for sleep is a bit on the cool side; sleep can be disrupted by temperatures below 18°C or above 24°C, so if you've got an air conditioner, you may want to set it to the optimal temperature to help you catch your Z’s.
Keep the temperature consistent - A sudden drop in temperature on a hot day can often cause health problems, as your body struggles to adjust. Lower the temperature gradually, and try to keep from being out too long when it’s too hot.
Clean your filters - If you’re sleeping with the air conditioner on, you might be worried about dust particles in the air. Air conditioners are designed to eliminate dust, but if you’re not cleaning the air conditioner filters regularly, you can actually spread more dust around, causing breathing problems. You can clean your filters yourself or get professional help to keep your unit in great shape.
Use a timer - If you find the sound disruptive, you can get an air conditioner on a timer. Using a timer will also save you a lot of money since the AC won’t be on all night. Instead, you can set it to help you fall asleep, and leave the rest to take care of itself!
Even with all these tips and a good AC unit, it's still a bit hard to really nail it and get the ultimate comfort without some added control. To remove the hassle of guesswork, you and your family can invest in a smart remote controller.
Smart controllers allow you to set and maintain optimal conditions, and make use of smart timers and other tools such as Geolocation, voice assistants and more to keep you comfy and save energy. Best of all, you can use your phone to keep an eye on your home's condition no matter where you are.
Sleep deprivation is a real problem for many of us today; automation and investing in Smart Home capabilities can greatly influence and improve our sleep, and eventually our lives. Combined with some natural remedies and making sure your AC is in good working condition, Smart AC control can help you keep your home at the optimal temperature and give your body what it needs - you'll be comfortable and your home will benefit from it too, no matter the season or weather conditions.
Patrick Holmes is an indoor air quality specialist at Home Air Quality Guides. His passion is to help people create a cleaner, healthier and more comforting environments inside their homes by sharing expert advice that's easy to follow. He enjoys writing in-depth articles on air purification, household cleaning tips, home maintenance advice and more.